A new water turbine is installed at Mica dam north of Revelstoke. The addition of the fifth and sixth turbines

Weather windfall for U.S. power exports

Warm winter left record water levels in B.C.'s Peace and Columbia River reservoirs, with water released to alleviate U.S. drought

A warm winter and a dry spring and summer combined to produce a big jump in BC Hydro power exports this year.

Electricity exports to the U.S. jumped by 73 per cent in the first eight months of 2015 compared to the same period last year, according to export data from Statistics Canada.

BC Hydro says the warmer winter decreased residential customer demand for electricity in B.C., leaving enough water in the Columbia and Peace River reservoirs that their combined volume reached record highs by the end of March 2015. That allowed for more generation from Mica dam on the Columbia River, which recently had a fifth and sixth turbine added to bring it up to maximum design capacity.

“These exports also supported the management of the obligations under the Columbia River Treaty, which provide for increased releases of water from the Canadian Columbia basin when the U.S. basin finds itself in severe drought conditions, as it did in the spring and summer of 2015,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Simi Heer. “Ultimately, the increased release meant additional generation at Mica, which resulted in more energy available for export.”

The Columbia River Treaty was signed by Canada and the U.S. in 1964, and its flood control mandate is set to expire in 2024. Energy Minister Bill Bennett has argued that the treaty should be renewed with an increased annual payment from the U.S., to reflect the value of controlling the river on the Canadian side for flood control and irrigation for agriculture in Washington state.

The increase in electricity sales was a bright spot for B.C. exports, the value of which fell 22.2 per cent from January to August, due mainly to falling natural gas prices.

Electricity prices also fell during that period, so the 73 per cent increase in exports resulted in only a 32.2 per cent increase in value. Decreases in gas and electricity prices are related to greatly increased shale gas production in the U.S., which is used for power production as well as heating fuel.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Nicole Halbauer seeks B.C. NDP nomination for Skeena riding

Halbauer is the current Chair of the Board of Directors at Coast Mountain College

Save our Children demonstration held in Terrace

Advocates call for tougher sentences, more public information

MLA rides bike from Terrace to Kitimat

Ride was to raise awareness for cancer

City, Regional District asking Terrace residents to complete housing survey

The Housing Needs Assessment Survey will help to better understand the state of housing in the city

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

B.C.’s 1st mental health and addictions minister won’t be seeking re-election

MLA Judy Darcy is the fifth cabinet minister not intending to run in the next election

Vancouver’s shuttered aquarium searching for financial solution amid pandemic

The aquarium needs about $1 million a month to cover its costs

B.C., Alberta sending nearly 300 fire personnel by Friday to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Some 230 firefighters, most from British Columbia but including a number from Alberta, will be deployed Friday

Most Read